Say you’re sorry.

Say you’re sorry.

It was a mantra of sorts growing up in my house. Knowing when and how to apologize sincerely … when mistakes are made, when you know you did something that was hurtful or wrong … is a good thing. Manners are a good thing in any family, and a sincere apology goes a long way toward rebuilding trust and harmony.

But let’s not take it too far.

Anything that becomes rote becomes mindless.

I was deep in a conversation with a friend the other day when things touched a nerve and emotions came to the surface. She immediately apologized, something I think so many of do when the tears well up.

We don’t want to make others uncomfortable, or think maybe they said or did something wrong. That’s admirable, but not apology-worthy.

Apologizing for an honest reaction, a raw emotion, diminishes the value of that emotion. It also diminishes the receiver of the apology, in an interesting way. When someone feels safe enough around me to have those raw moments, without fear of me judging them, I’m honored, not chagrined. I can handle your tears, your fears, your insecurities just as well as I can handle your joy and your laughter.

When “sorry not sorry” became an internet trope, it encapsulated our collective need to own our feelings, share our thoughts, without prejudging them on our own behalf.

You want to cry? Cool.

You’re mad as hell? Awesome.

You’re so confused you don’t even know what you feel? Been there.

We all have dreams and desires and wishes and needs that others can only guess at. Let’s stop assuming that these are something we ought to apologize for.

So don’t jump right to the apology. If you’re about to get all Level 10 emotional, a little heads up might be in order, but an apology in definitely not required.

Love the heart that beats inside you.

Carol Pearson is the author of 10 Little Rules for a Blissy Life and the founder of the 10 Little Rules Books Series.

 

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The Modern Southern Belle’s Guide to Winter

The Modern Southern Belle’s Guide to Winter

For the vast majority of my life, (pretty much all of it), winter has been a novelty. A season spoken of wistfully, replete with tales of frigid temperatures and an odd white precipitation called “snow.”

Sure, there are plenty of areas in the South that experience winter and all of its natural wonders. But I’m from South-Central Texas, where just the suggestion of freezing rain – much less snow – incites a panicked run to the H-E-B before the world screeches to a halt and cities shut down.

Now, I live in Northern Virginia (NOVA), where winter, ice and snow are real things that happen fairly regularly. Truly, I’ve been looking forward to experiencing a real winter since the day we decided to move. So, when the first snowfall arrived, I squealed like a little kid. When snow flurries drifted past the window on Christmas morning, I stood there transfixed.

Just this week, as we watched the news of an impending winter storm warning, I learned that locals not only count on this weather, but also plan for it. What, the what?! Apparently, my years of experienced panic-shopping at the grocery store came nowhere close to preparing me for a NOVA winter. Luckily, my husband and a bestie know what to do. What I learned was invaluable, so I’m going to share it with you … in case you’re too Southern (Is there such a thing?!) to know how to plan appropriately.*

Planning for Your Vehicle
Learning what to have in a winter “car kit” was a huge eye-opener for me. I truly just hadn’t thought to be this prepared. I also now have a better understanding of the odd collection of stuff my grandpa and father-in-law kept in their cars.

1. Assemble a “car kit.” This goes well beyond your typical roadway emergency, jumper cables and flares kind of kit, which should be in your vehicle year-round. Rather, this is a tote/box/bag/whatever in which you have packed a warm blanket, an extra coat (and maybe gloves and a hat), bottled water, high-protein snacks, acetaminophen and a flashlight. Consider having a 10-lb bag of litter (to help with traction) and a small shovel. And did you know that you can put a lit candle inside a coffee can, and it will put out some heat as well as light? #lifehack

2. Keep your gas tank full. First, our dads and grandpas were right: Never let the gas tank fall below ¼ of a tank. It won’t just keep you from getting stranded, a full or close-to-full tank will also help protect your vehicle from issues caused by freezing temperatures.

3. Don’t water the windshield. Not quite a planning-ahead tip, but one I would never have guessed: Don’t use warm water to melt ice off of your windshield. It can shatter. Use a scraper for that purpose or cold water.

Planning for Home
For typical things to do – like wrapping exposed pipes, etc. – a quick Google will do. My list is less technical and pretty straight-forward. While nothing is likely to catch you unaware, I trust you’ll humor me.

1. Keep your shelves and your fridge full. Always keep whatever your family considers necessities (like milk, eggs, bread, wine, Milano cookies, etc.) on hand, and be sure that list covers snacks and foods you don’t have to cook in case your power goes out. This one piece of advice, which I’ve followed for decades, prevented household disaster during the 2020 Pandemic Toilet Tissue Crisis. If you have pets, be sure to remember their needs.

2. Own flashlights, batteries, candles and matches. Actually, don’t just own them, know where they are in your house. I tend to put things in “safe” places, only to forget where those places are. If that sounds like you, be sure others in your household know where those things are, too.

3. Stock your first aid cabinet. No, you’re not likely to have any urgent medical needs that can’t be handled normally. But, if you’re snowed in or the streets are icy and you’re out of migraine medicine, you’ll wish you heeded this tiny bit of advice. Always have a stock of common over-the-counter medicines like ibuprofen or acetaminophen, and refill your prescriptions in a timely manner.

4. Have some fun. As in have a few board games and a deck of cards tucked away in a cabinet somewhere. Even grumpy teens will play when the power is out or they’ve exhausted their TikTok and Instagram feeds.

I’m told winter in NOVA extends into March. I’m skeptical of that since I’m used to 80+ temperatures and Spring Break that month. Nonetheless, my shopping cart has been filled and preparations should be complete in just two days. (Thanks, Amazon Prime!)


*This assumes that you have the means – financial or otherwise – to plan ahead and be prepared. I know not all families are fortunate to be in that position. If you need assistance, I encourage you to reach out to your area United Way organization for help.

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Bliss … at a time like this

Bliss … at a time like this

Okay, I get it. I’ve not been myself lately.

I’ve been short-tempered, easily rattled, unfocused and anxious. I haven’t been sleeping well, and I’m tired. Not physically tired (although that too), but deep down emotionally tired … from all of it.

These are not normal times. These are not easy days. And the people closest to me bear the brunt of my less-than-blissy vibe.

I’d apologize, but I don’t think that’s really called for. I’m not doing this intentionally, or aimed at anyone in particular. In fact, when I feel this way my instinct is to curl up, stay offline, keep away from humans so I don’t inflict my whatever this is on them.

To be sure, there have been some really great times this past year. For several days around the holidays, my heart was full, light, happy and peaceful. We laughed; we played games with family online, and at home at the kitchen table. What I expected would be a difficult Christmas was actually quite wonderful in a totally unexpected way. That was nice.

There was a wedding (pandemic style, during the fall “lull” … a grand baby born on Christmas Day (we will see her soon, I pray!) and an engagement. Life went on … in spite of the pandemic, the social upheaval, the politics.

Even when I lost my Dad in October, we were able to gather safely as a family and have a private service. I know this is far more than many families have had recently, and I am so grateful for that gathering, the love and the healing that will forever be Dad’s legacy.

Then last week happened. Something changed. What seemed a remote possibility became horribly real. Enough people disagree with the rule of law in this country that the seat of our government was breached, vandalized. People died. It was gutting to watch it unfold in real time.

So you’ll forgive me if I forget my bliss, yes? Because at the heart of all of this, the rules still hold true. I’m better when I spend time each day getting to source, listening to my heart, feeling then deciding. It’s just that what I’m hearing and feeling isn’t bliss. And that has to be okay. For now.

What we are going through now will become our history … this country’s and our own personal stories. We will not emerge from this unchanged. How can we? But I will find my bliss; I will not give up that quest. I will not give up on us, on you, on our country, on humanity.

I was made for these times. To quote Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, “Soul on deck shines like in dark times.” I will continue to shine … even if there are days when my light is dim.

Carol Pearson is the founder of the 10 Little Rules book series, and the author of 10 Little Rules for a Blissy Life, available at www.10littlerules.com, on Amazon, and at select retail stores. Follow 10 Little Rules on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn.

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